All living organisms evolved from a common ancestor more than 3.5 billion years ago, and accumulated mutations on their genomes caused the present biodiversity. The traces of evolutionary processes remain in the genomes of extant organisms and we can infer (1) the phylogenetic relationships of organisms and (2) the genetic changes which caused the phenotypic evolution by comparing the genomes of different organisms. The inferred phylogenetic relationships give important insights on problems in various fields of evolutionary biology and our group is now focusing on biogeography, evolution of morphological traits and systematics in wide range of taxa. On the phenotypic evolution, we are especially interested in the morphological evolution and aim to explore genetic changes which led the evolution of plant body plan.
We selected Arabidopsis (angiosperm), Gnetum (gymnosperm), Ginkgo (gymnosperm), Ceratopteris (pteridophyte), and Physcomitrella (bryophyte) as models to compare the genetic cascades regulating morphogenesis especially in the reproductive organs and shoot apical meristem of land plants.